This is a fun comic book. In the last issue Jason Aaron formed a whole new team of X-Men and sent more than half of them to the afterlife. I was skeptical about how a comic literally set in hell would be kept silly and fun, so let’s see if issue #2 can continue the trend of quality. Is it good?
Amazing X-Men #2 (Marvel Comics)
Northstar and Wolverine are in heaven. Storm, Iceman and Angelica are in hell. This story is told around these two divisions of characters, and only those two. This is a great change in an X-Men book; with huge casts of characters filling the pages of nearly every X-title on the shelves it’s nice to see an author write a story revolving around a core of only five characters.
While the whole book tells the story of these five characters and their experiences in the afterlife it’s all narrated by Kurt (Nightcrawler). This is a marvelous touch; not only because it’s great to hear Kurt’s voice/inner monologue again but because it keeps Kurt in the fray without putting him directly into the comic. We get a sense of Kurt’s presence while not solely focusing on him.
Wolverine and Northstar are an unlikely pair, but create a nice team. They take on Azazel’s minions on a floating pirate ship. Northstar provides most of the comic relief (loved that line about always wanting to fight pirates as a kid) while Wolverine services the more dramatic, story progressing moments. The part when Xavier talked to Wolverine telepathically was geniously written and reminded me of Rick “talking” to Lori just after her death. It was a great moment and teases readers with the possibility of Chuck’s return as well.
The story is paced just right, artwise and story wise. Jason Aaron keeps the story moving with quick writing and little exposition while Ed McGuinness maintains a nice balance of spreads and regular sized panels making the big moments feel big and lasting.
There’s nothing Ed McGuinness can’t do, of that I am convinced. Hell looks convincingly sinister and dark enough but the action remains cartoonish enough for the comic to be lighthearted. Heaven not only has a completely different aesthetic than hell but is a totally different art style altogether. I see more minimalist work and sophisticated backgrounds going on in the heaven panels while the scenes in hell are detailed incredibly. It shows an incredible skill and versatility to put out this level of great work so consistently.
My only gripe would be some of the less realistic touches in this comic. I know it isn’t entirely grounded in reality (there’s a guy with metal claws and a blue elf) but the notion that Bobby would be affected greatly by Hell’s atmosphere but still be able to freeze everything over seems a little bit over the top and stretching it. Also (and I know this is the nitpick of the century) Storm is conjuring lightning on the cover but then in the issue remarks on the fact that she has no powers in the underworld.
No lightning hands
- Ed McGuinness is thebomb.com
- Story is nicely constructed and paced
- Right amount of characters
- Few problems with realism
Is it Good?
Yes, this is a fantastic comic. Jason Aaron perfectly captures the fun nature of this team without making everything a joke. The story is quickly paced and doesn’t try to do too much. McGuinness’s work is incredible and makes the terrific story just that much better.